Saturday, November 23, 2013

From Fall to Winter

I left my car on the driveway overnight. Ice crystals formed on the windshield.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Monday, November 4, 2013

Stitching Blog Hop

I've decided to join my friend Stacy in a stitching blog hop. Answer a question, move on to the next blog, find out what other stitchers have to say. This week's question:

How long have you been cross stitching?

Wow. Tough question. I know I learned surface embroidery in elementary school. I know that in 1976, I got some pillow cases with stamped embroidery at the Ben Franklin store in Chicago. My grandfather used to own a Ben Franklin there. I know that in 1982-ish I embroidered a sampler for my dad that incorporated some cross-stitch, but it wasn't counted cross-stitch. Here's what the sampler looks like:

Hmmm. In the very early years of AOL is when I ran across a group of cross-stitchers online. I became a chat host where we talked about all aspects of cross-stitch. So I would say that for sure my addiction started in about 1996. I know I did counted cross-stitch before that, though.

OK. How 'bout you? Want to join the blog hop?

Crossed Stitches Blog Hop #1
1. Studio Window  

(Submissions close in 10d 13h 20m)
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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Treats and Treats and Treats

Three years ago I completed the stitching for these Halloween Treat Bags, and blogged about it.

In each successive year, I pulled out the embroidery intending to finish the bags for my daughters. But they just didn't get done. Back into the stash basket they went.

This year, I made the bags and managed to get them in the mail in time for my daughters to receive them for Halloween. It was fun to fill them with gifts tailored to each young woman's taste. I so love my daughters! Can't wait to see them all together at the end of the month.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Nothin' But the Dead and Dying

What little garden I had, is now gone, gone, gone

Roma Tomato

Cherry Tomato



Even the Weeds

Friday, October 25, 2013

Red Letter Day

Today I had the pleasure of meeting this lovely woman in IRL. We've been online friends through photography for about four years. Lisa is the person that encouraged me in macro photography and introduced me to geocaching. She has such good humor and a wonderful strength of character that just shines through.

Me with Lisa Dewane

To get up close and personal with this kind of positive energy was a pure pleasure!

Thank you so much, Lisa and Dennis, for going out of your way to have breakfast with me and Dale. I'm so glad that we only live a day apart, instead of half a country apart.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Turning Over

Though this blog's the subtitle is Peek into the Window of my Soul, I haven't written much about my inner journey for quite a while. Usually, I allow my art, humor, and photography to speak for me. However, I am a writer as well. So today, I write.

Twenty-six  years ago on a late October afternoon, I left my first husband. I took my two babies in diapers and went to live in a woman's shelter. Scared. Anxious. Without a plan. Feeling like a complete failure. My marriage failed. My dreams failed. My career failed. Even with a college degree, the full-time job I eventually secured paid only $600 per month.

This afternoon, a quarter century after that life-changing day, I completed my Fearless Living course. What is designed to take readers one year to complete, took me six years. Slow and steady gets me where I need to go. I learned  much; I had so much to learn!

When I started Fearless Living, I was lost in the mental jumble that is the aftermath of a hypo-manic episode. That was quite a deep hole filled with self-doubts and shaky identity. I can now accept who I am because I finally know who I am. I no longer believe anyone else's definition of me - or accusation about me. I've done the hard internal work. It's been quite a journey.

Looking back at October of '87, I see that 30 year old single mom was already courageous. She just didn't know it.

She did have some confidence in her skills, but she didn't know quite how to demonstrate them effectively to others. She was a singer, but didn't have a voice. She could stand up for her kids, but was very wobbly when trying to stand up for herself.

She was generous in spirit - even to her ex who accused her of things that were simply not true.

Today, the 55 year old me is overflowing with gratitude. I thank the God that I've come to know, the Spirit of life and love, for guiding me to this new turning point.

I'm grateful for my husband Dale's steadfastness and humor that have have given me a rope to hold onto and a reason to hold on.

I'm grateful for the counseling help I received from Bonnie M, from AlAnon, and from Cathi M. They taught me to re-frame my life experiences in much the same way that I can re-frame a photo in my camera's viewfinder. It's the same subject matter, but from a different point of view. These counselors helped me understand my biological mental challenges so that I can work within my limitations to forge my own version of success.

I'm grateful for the Aura of Awesome, for the Gauntlettes, and for my other female friends who listen to me daily and share their lives with me. They are counselors of a different sort.

I'm grateful for authors who share their wisdom through the written word, especially the authors of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Self Matters, Boundaries, What to Say When You Talk to Yourself, and Fearless Living. By taking my time and working through the exercises in these books deliberately, I've had many Ah-Ha! Moments. I've even learned that I can gain insight from a book that I didn't like at all.

I'm grateful to The Flylady, Marla Cilley. Her voice and essays wash over me in a firm-but-loving way. She encourages all us "flybabies" to get off our frannies and do something about our living situation, rather than allowing life challenges to run us over. Because of Flylady's decade of mentoring, I've become a better homemaker, a better mom and a better human. She is the living embodiment of her lessons in how to be kind to yourself and take care of yourself so that you can care for your family without burnout.

It's been quite a journey.

I am incredibly grateful to know that I am a charmed artist whose soul can sing - and can affect those in my circle of influence with light and joy.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Mighty Columbia

I never tire of the ride up the Columbia River

The scenic vistas

The massive windmills

The steep drop-offs on both sides if the river

The powerful water

Then there's the Freaky Forest, where fast-growing trees are grown plantation-style for their wood.

And the high desert farmlands of eastern Washington soak in the sun below the blue mountains.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Massive Mushrooms

We tried for one more cache on the GeoTour. It was hidden in the woods overlooking the ocean.

Unfortunately, night had fallen. It was too dark to search for our treasure unless we used a flashlight. Even then, footing was unsteady. We nearly tripped over this gargantuan mushroom.

It was freakishly large.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Oregon Dunes

Continuing our GeoTour, we stopped at the Oregon Dunes.

Wow! Are they massive!

The dune riders are daredevils!

I've never seen such impressive landforms before.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Another Waterfall

Near the cache at the Florence Best Western was this pretty man-made waterfall.

It's not nearly as grand as the natural falls at Sweet Creek, but it was a nice place to stop and rest for a bit.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Florence, Oregon

At the start of September, Dale and I visited Jodie in western Oregon. The three of us went on a geocaching tour. I've posted some photos already. Now it's time for more.

With a couple long hikes and several caches under our belt, we were glad to get into town and eat a hearty lunch. But where?

When in Florence, eat at Mo's! Good seafood, right on the water. We got a window seat ... and found an outlet so we could charge our phones.

The geobuddies were hungry, too.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


I don't know that I've ever seen the violet in a rainbow before today. But for about one minute, I could see it in this rainbow. I'm glad I took the time to pull over to the curb and get out of my car.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Goodnight, Karl

While sitting in the drive-through lane at Panda Express, the sun rested for a moment on the tall grass and made it glow.

Karl Foerster

And just as quickly, it was gone.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Sweet Creek Falls - Part 2

I had some fun with my camera, taking these artsy shots of the falls.

Main Falls

Downstream Falls

Monday, September 30, 2013

Sweet Creek Falls - Part 1

The 5th geocache on our tour took us for a long ride and a longer hike into the Sweet Creek canyon. Along the way we saw very large slugs, very green snails, very large spiders, and a series of beautiful waterfalls.

It was a long (for us) sweaty hike to the cache. The cool waters felt wonderful when we were done.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Another Covered Bridge

Our 4th cache on the GeoTour was at a gorgeous spot called Whittaker Recreation Area. There are camping and picnic spots, some great trails, and this lovely covered bridge.


Yes. With a roof of trees and rails covered in moss.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Woods Are Lovely, Dark and Deep

On our trek to the cache at Wildcat Bridge, we took the scenic route on a long gravel road under a canopy of trees. The dappled light beckoned us forward.

This beautiful covered bridge, spanning Wildcat Creek, is nearly 90 years old. Truly a treasure from the past.

It's kept in good repair. But, oh that Terra! She appears to be the local Kilroy.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Would You Like a Glass of Wine?

Our second cache of the tour was just outside this lovely winery.

Domaine Meriwether is one of more than a dozen fine wineries in the South Willamette Valley. They are known for their laid-back and friendly atmospheres.